FIFA 20 vs PES 2020: Which is the definitive football sim of 2019?

EA Sports and Konami have now played their cards in the yearly football sim battle, both companies releasing great-looking, mechanically competent experiences that push the boat in their own ways. However, there’s always a winner in this tried-and-true battle of visuals, gameplay mechanics and licenses, with hardcore fans fighting for their respective sides each and every year. 

FIFA 20 and PES 2020 have proven themselves as excellent football sims in their own right, but which one is worth buying, and why? Now they’re both out in the wild, Trusted Reviews has delved into the thick of things to help you find out. 

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PES 2020

FIFA 20 vs PES 2020 Graphics – Which one looks the best?

Visuals have now evolved to the point of photorealism, with players from major teams depicted with startling accuracy. Both games look great, with FIFA and PES running on the Frostbite and FOX Engines respectively. This one will come down to personal preference if we’re being completely honest. 

Each entry has their own distinct licenses when it comes to specific teams and locations, with FIFA 20 having the advantage in this area by a significant margin. However, Konami has snapped up major teams such as Manchester United, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Juventus for PES. If you’re a hardcore fan of any of these, it might be worth dipping into PES 2020 to get your dedicated fix. 

If we’re being honest, it’s hard to decide a victor here. Both look excellent, with neither slacking in any major area. In the end, it’s down to personal preference and certain licenses. 

Winner: Draw 

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FIFA 20

FIFA 20 vs PES 2020 Licenses – Who has the better teams?

This has been a long-running battle with Konami and Electronic Arts signing agreements that carve up the world’s most popular teams and leagues, drawing in players from the official kits and likenesses alone. 

A shift occurred in recent years with PES losing its grasp on the Champions League, a huge tournament that now belongs exclusively to FIFA. This hurt Konami, and if we’re being brutally honest, they’ve been fighting a losing battle ever since.

This hasn’t stopped Konami from launching a fightback. Having acquired the exclusive rights to Juventus with PES 2020, that’s ensured FIFA 20 must default to generic names and likenesses. It’s a small bruise on an otherwise outstanding package, so unless you’re a fan, it won’t make a big difference.

In terms of specific licenses, PES 2020 has claimed Juventus, Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Manchester United. These come with players, kits and stadiums all portrayed with visual perfection. Sadly, it probably won’t be enough to tempt those already loyal to FIFA. 

Winner: FIFA 20 

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PES 2020

FIFA 20 vs PES 2020 modes – Which has the best content?

The latest addition to FIFA is Volta, a spin on street football which shrinks the traditional match down to fast-paced 5v5 outings. It’s a great change of pace, even if the intricate gameplay mechanics don’t translate perfectly when shrunk down. Flaws aside, it’s an entertaining addition that gives EA Sports the advantage, especially with the absence of The Journey.

Outside of Volta, there’s still plenty to explore in FIFA 20 from Career Mode, UEFA Champions League and, of course, Ultimate Team. The latter continues to draw in bucket loads of revenue, despite a controversial loot box-esque design which encourages people to part with their money again and again. Once FIFA 21 comes along, their collection will restart from scratch as the attain the latest cards.

PES 2020 doesn’t have much in the way of new additions, instead focusing on what it has rather than innovating with new modes. That means Master League and Matchday are back with improvements, the latter remastered with new story elements and player consequences to make it far more engrossing. Despite this, it’s a shame more experimental ideas aren’t being explored.

Winner: FIFA 20 

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FIFA 20

FIFA 20 vs PES 2020 gameplay – Which mechanics reign supreme?

Every year we see sweeping mechanical improvements made to both FIFA and PES, although these are oftentimes iterative than genuinely game-changing. Elements such as player behaviour, ball physics and players reacting like you’d expect them to in reality have been refined.

Things are smoother than ever in both installments, with dribbling, tackling and other methods of play adjusted in ways that reflect the modern game and the realism attainable in modern video games. We’d be here all day delving into specific changes, but we’re happy concluding that both parties have meaningful things to offer this year. Once again, it comes down to what feels better for you.

Winner: Draw 

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PES 2020

FIFA 20 vs PES 2020 verdict – Who is the winner?

As in previous years, the showdown of football sims has fallen into somewhat of a stalemate. Both PES 2020 and FIFA 20 bring a raft of worthwhile improvements and new additions, each offering a distinct yet impressive gameplay experience. EA definitely has the edge in terms of modes and licenses, while Konami’s graphics engine allows for a smoother experience on the pitch.

They both have eggs in their respective baskets, so we’ve popped excerpts from our reviews below to help your purchasing decision further:

  • FIFA 20 (4/5) – “It remains a gorgeous and fun-to-play football game that’s as addictive as ever. The addition of Volta adds some much-needed variety and the quick matches filled with skills and elaborate game celebrations are fun.”
  • PES 2020 (4/5) –“PES 2020 takes what you love about the series and makes it more satisfying and fun, without sacrificing its simulation pedigree. The lack of captivating online and offline game modes hold it back, however.”

Which football sim will you be picking up this year? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter @trustedreviews or email the editor below. 

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